Thomas Jefferson Accomplishments are many, varied and interesting. And, many of his endeavors impacted the history of the US in significant ways that we see even today.
Another President who thought highly of President Jefferson said, “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” John F. Kennedy, in an address at a White House dinner honoring Nobel Prize winners (29 April 1962), quoted in The White House Diary, at the JFK Library
Jefferson was born in Albemarle County, on April 13, 1743 on a plantation situated in Shadwell, VA.
Jefferson had an unusual command of the English language. He penned a statement that has been called “one of the best-known sentences in the English language” containing “the most potent and consequential words in American history”. One of the Thomas Jefferson accomplishments which is well known to all of us is this sentence.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
This is a passage that once represented the moral standard of the United States and one to which we need to return if we are to thrive once again.
Listed below are a number of Thomas Jefferson‘s accomplishments. Here is one of the Thomas Jefferson accomplishments that should be pointed out. He wanted to be known not things he received, but things he gave to the people. Rather than write a long treatise about them he designed his own grave stone. There he recorded, for all to see, the three accomplishments for which he wanted people to see what he gave.
The Thomas Jefferson accomplishments as he declared on his self-designed gravestone were:
“Author of the Declaration of American Independence,
of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom,
and Father of the University of Virginia”.
Do you find it interesting that of all his life’s work he wanted to be remembered for these three things, particularly the middle item? Jefferson wanted to be remembered for the “Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom”.
Containing about 325 words Jefferson thought this to be one of his 3 top giving achievements in his entire life. Have you read it? Here’s a link to Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom. The language is at a higher level than typically used today but still understandable and clear in its meaning.
Religious freedom is a major kingpin to America’s freedoms. Among Thomas Jefferson’s accomplishments this he thought foremost, that of religious freedom.
The concept of the freedom of religion is very interesting in light of religious thought around us today. Thomas Jefferson’s accomplishments as he saw them included 3 items only and one was pointed toward religious freedom. Actually he wrote a significant amount about this. One issue he wrote about concerned itself with the Separation of Church and State. He did not want government to declare an official religion. Nor did he want government to prohibit the religious expression of any particular religion.
In a private letter to Benjamin Rush, Jefferson refers to himself as “Christian” (1803):
“To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence… “
Thomas Jefferson’s Accomplishments are many
Here are those that are interesting and those that may be considered as his major achievements.
- After becoming a Lawyer Jefferson was admitted to the Virginia bar in April 1767.
- Elected in 1769 to the Virginia House of Burgesses.
- Married to Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson on Jan. 16, 1772. She died 10 years later.
- 6 children by Martha, only 2 survived to adult. Martha was his one and only wife.
- Thomas was greatly in love and her death was very difficult for him.
- Agreed to serve on the Constitutional Convention if a Bill of Rights were added.
- In 1775-1776 he was one of 3 Virginia delegates to the Continental Congress.
- Main author of the Declaration of Independence.
- The Continental Congress made 86 amendments to Jefferson’s original draft.
- Jefferson was 33 when he signed the Declaration of Independence.
- Served in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1776 – 1779
- During the Revolutionary War he was the Governor of Virginia, 1779 – 1780.
- Went to Britain for peace talks, 1782.
- America’s minister to France, 1784.
- Under President Washington Jefferson was his Secretary of State in 1789.
- Formed the democratic – Republican Party, 1793.
- Lost Presidential bid in 1796 to John Adams.
- Became Vice President to President Adams. After one meeting they did not communicate again during the entire time in office.
- Elected President of the United States in 1801 after George Washington and John Adams and followed by his good friend James Madison who was his Secretary of State.
- Jefferson served two terms as President.
- In 1803 he doubled the acreage of the United Stated for $15 million when he purchased the Louisiana Territory from France.
- Jefferson, in 1804-1805, was responsible for sending Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on the expedition in search for the Pacific Ocean.
- He introduced legislation to abolish slavery several times but without success.
- He was a strong advocate of religious liberty.
- He also strongly opposed nationalism in favor of state’s rights.
- Jefferson reduced the national debt by 25% by cutting federal government spending.
- Owned a plantation in Virginia. Had approximately 200 slaves.
- Released 7 slaves and never did pursue 2 run-aways.
- Jefferson even found time to invent the Moldboard plow to improve farming.
- Worked as a scientist, was an Inventor, a linguist, a musician and an architect.
- Said to have written over 16,000 letters in his lifetime.
- Fluent in 5 languages and able to read in 2 others.
- In 1810, established the University of Virginia.
- Formed the Library of Congress by selling his personal library to congress.
- Thomas Jefferson died at age 83 on July 4, 1826 a few hours before John Adams. They died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
Thomas Jefferson received many Honors of Distinction. Here are a few which again, point to the many Thomas Jefferson Accomplishments.
- Honorary Degrees or Memberships from: College of William and Mary, Yale, Harvard, Princeton, British Board of Agriculture, American Academy of Languages & Belles Letters, U.S. Society of Artists.
- Many Buildings, Sculptures, Currency, Postage, a nuclear powered submarine and a class attack transport, all carry the Thomas Jefferson name and or image.
- Mount Rushmore was one of those well known honors.
- Jefferson and Andrew Jackson were honored by the Democrats as the party’s founding fathers and portrayed by them as the spokesman for democracy and the common man.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ship, the Thomas Jefferson.
- Many honors and awards in various fields are given in the name of Thomas Jefferson around the world.
Mount Rushmore Presidents are: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
The Thomas Jefferson accomplishments listed here are by no means meant to be an exhaustive list. While they may be some of the more interesting or best known or most important there are many others that could be listed. He was an amazing man. Some believe him to be the most important of the founding fathers.
Thomas Jefferson Accomplishment: CURRENCY, another honor.
The Thomas Jefferson Nickel has gone as high as $375 for an uncirculated 1943 coin.
The 3rd Presidential $1 coin minted.
The first Presidential coin to have edge lettering.
This link is for a brief 4 minute video: Thomas Jefferson – Mini-Biography
The above video mentions the notion that Jefferson bore several children with his young slave Sally Hemings. There is a lengthy article that reviews the evidence entitled: Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: The Search for Truth.That article concludes with the following statement.
Since this article was written, the Jefferson-Hemings Scholars Commission released a 565 page report on the Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings controversy. The Executive Summary of that report states:
The question of whether Thomas Jefferson fathered one or more children by his slave Sally Hemings is an issue about which honorable people can and do disagree. After a careful review of all of the evidence, the commission agrees unanimously that the allegation is by no means proven; and we find it regrettable that public confusion about the 1998 DNA testing and other evidence has misled many people. With the exception of one member, whose views are set forth both below and in his more detailed appended dissent, our individual conclusions range from serious skepticism about the charge to a conviction that it is almost certainly false.
The Jefferson-Hemings Scholars Commission was made up of eminent historians and scholars; they released their report on April 12, 2001.